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Publication numberUS6186124 B1
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 09/302,539
Publication dateFeb 13, 2001
Filing dateApr 30, 1999
Priority dateJan 12, 1998
Fee statusLapsed
Also published asDE69902350D1, DE69902350T2, EP1047863A1, EP1047863B1, US6006725, WO1999035374A1
Publication number09302539, 302539, US 6186124 B1, US 6186124B1, US-B1-6186124, US6186124 B1, US6186124B1
InventorsAnna Stefanopoulou, Mrdjan J Jankovic
Original AssigneeFord Global Technologies, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
System & method for controlling camshaft timing, air/fuel ratio, and throttle position in an automotive internal combustion engine
US 6186124 B1
Abstract
A system for controlling camshaft timing, air/fuel ratio and electronic throttle position in an automotive internal combustion engine uses a controller for operating a camshaft phaser, electronic throttle positioner and fuel injectors. The controller determines camshaft timing, steady-state electronic throttle position, steady-state fuel supply, and compensatory transient electronic throttle position, and transient fuel supply such that an engine operating with the present system has the torque output characteristics matching a conventional engine having fixed camshaft timing, but with lower fuel consumption and lower exhaust emissions than a conventional engine.
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Claims(7)
What is claimed is:
1. A method for controlling the camshaft timing, air/fuel ratio, and electronic throttle position in an automotive internal combustion engine, comprising:
determining a camshaft timing advance value for a camshaft which operates cylinder intake and exhaust valves of the engine;
determining a steady-state position for an electronic air throttle;
determining a steady-state air/fuel ratio rate;
determining transient values for electronic air throttle position and air/fuel ratio; and
determining a rich air/fuel ratio suitable for purging a lean NOx trap based upon a quantity of fuel suitable for operating the engine at approximately a stoichiometric air/fuel ratio, but with insufficient air, so as to cause enrichment of the air and fuel mixture.
2. A method according to claim 1, wherein steady-state camshaft timing advance and steady-state air/fuel ratio are based upon a sensed operating position of a manually operable accelerator, as well as upon sensed engine speed.
3. A method according to claim 1, wherein the determination of transient electronic throttle position and transient fuel supply rate is based at least in part upon the camshaft timing advance, and upon the steady-state electronic throttle position.
4. A method according to claim 1, wherein transient electronic throttle position is determined as a function of at least the time rate of change of the camshaft timing.
5. A method according to claim 1, wherein transient electronic throttle position is determined as a function of at least the time rate of change of the camshaft timing and the instantaneous pressure within an air inlet manifold of the engine.
6. A method according to claim 1, wherein transient electronic throttle position comprises a steady state value and a correction value.
7. A method according to claim 1, wherein the transient air/fuel ratio is determined so as to track and follow the filling and emptying of the intake manifold with the result that fluctuations in output torque are minimized.
Description

This application is a divisional of Ser. No. 09/005,571, filed Jan. 12, 1998, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,006,725.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a system and method for simultaneously controlling transient camshaft timing, air/fuel ratio, and electronic throttle position in an internal combustion engine.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Lean-burn operation of spark-ignited internal combustion engines is desirable because it improves fuel economy. By combining lean-burn and variable cam timing (VCT) technologies in port fuel injected engines, improvement in fuel economy of about 8 to 10% can be achieved. Moreover, available data suggest that the feedgas emissions of a lean-burn VCT engine are also improved. As used herein, the term “feedgas” means the exhaust gas leaving the engine prior to any aftertreatment. And, the term VCT refers to engine cylinder valve timing control of either intake and exhaust valves or only exhaust valves.

Additional improvement in efficiency is possible by operating a direct injection spark-ignited (DISI) engine in a very lean stratified-charge mode. The present invention addresses the problem of scheduling camshaft timing, air/fuel ratio, and electronic throttle position for lead operation of both port-injection and DISI engines in order to achieve optimum performance in terms of fuel efficiency and emissions as well as the driveability or torque response of a conventional engine.

For the purposes of this specification, it is assumed that the engine is equipped with an electronic throttle control (ETC) in which the vehicle driver merely operates a potentiometer, with the actual throttle opening being determined by the engine's electronic controller. Other sensors and actuators used with conventional electronically controlled engines may be employed with a system and method according to the present invention. Performance of the present system during lean operation may benefit from a universal exhaust gas oxygen (UEGO) sensor used instead of or in conjunction with a heated exhaust gas oxygen(HEGO) sensor.

The additional degrees of freedom available in a lean-burn VCT engine make the scheduling of camshaft timing, air/fuel ratio, and electronic throttle position difficult. The method proposed in this specification is structured to decouple driveability issues from the steady sate scheduling of the ETC, camshaft timing and air/fuel ratio. The optimal steady state schedules are obtained using the engine data of fuel consumption and HC, CO, and NOx emissions at different cam and air-fuel values with engine speed and braking torque held constant. Demanded torque at a given engine speed can be achieved by many different combinations of throttle position, camshaft timing, and air/fuel ratio. The present system and method assures that, at a given torque demand, the steady state values of camshaft timing and air/fuel ratio are optimal.

Transient operation of the ETC, the air/fuel ratio and camshaft timing must be carefully managed in order to achieve torque response resembling a conventional engine. Because the ETC (as an actuator) and fuel injectors are much faster than the cam timing actuator, the following sequence is employed for scheduling and dynamic transient compensation: (a) cam timing command is as prescribed by optimal steady state schedules; (b) the ETC command contains a component which is used to compensate for the cylinder air-charge variation due to cam timing transients; and (c) the air/fuel ratio command contains a dynamic component that matches the manifold filling dynamics to avoid large torque excursions and driveability problems. In general, when valve timing is moved from a more retarded position to a more advanced position, the ETC must be placed in a more closed position; conversely, when valve timing is moved from a more advanced position to a more retarded position, the ETC must be placed in a more open position.

One distinct feature of the proposed method is that the air/fuel scheduling into the lead region is air-driven not fuel-driven. This makes the task of simulating the driveability of a conventional engine much easier because engine output torque is much more sensitive to fuel changes at constant air than to air changes at constant fuel. For example, for a fixed flow of fuel, changing the air flow from 20:1 lean to stoichiometric changes the engine torque by about 6% to 8% as this only changes the efficiency of the engine. On the other hand, for a fixed air flow, changing the fuel flow from 20:1 lean to stoichiometric changes the torque by more than 30%.

To meet legislated tailpipe emission requirements, lean-burn engines must be equipped with a “lean NOx trap” (LNT) to reduce the exhaust concentration of the oxides of nitrogen (NOx). The LNT requires periodic purging, which is accomplished by operating the engine at either exact stoichiometry or at a rich air/fuel ratio for a period of time. Changing the amount of fuel from lean to rich operation causes an increase in torque which is not demanded by the driver, resulting in driveability problems. The present air-driven method of operation avoids this problem and allows purging of an LNT without causing torque variation.

During stratified operation of DISI engines the problem of fuel-driven air-fuel control is even more pronounced and the benefits of the present air-driven scheduling is more significant.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to the present invention, a system for controlling the camshaft timing, air/fuel ratio, and electronic throttle position in an automotive internal combustion engine includes a camshaft phaser for controlling the timing advance of a camshaft for operating cylinder intake and exhaust valves of the engine, a throttle position sensor for sensing the position of a manually operable accelerator and for producing an accelerator position signal, and an engine speed sensor for sensing engine speed and for producing an engine speed signal. The present system also includes an electronic throttle positioner for setting an intake air throttle at a commanded position, a plurality of fuel injectors for supplying fuel to the engine, and a controller for operating the camshaft phaser, the electronic throttle positioner, and the fuel injectors, with the controller receiving the outputs of the accelerator position and engine speed sensors, and with the controller determining camshaft timing advance, steady-state and transient electronic throttle position, and fuel supply.

According to another aspect of the present invention, the controller determines an ETC setting appropriate to achieve a rich air/fuel ratio suitable for purging a lean NOx trap based upon a quantity of fuel suitable for operating the engine at approximately a stoichiometric air/fuel ratio, but with excess air sufficient to cause enleanment of the air and fuel mixture.

The engine controller of the present system operates the engine with improved fuel economy by operating the fuel injectors to provide a quantity of fuel suitable for operation at approximately a stoichiometric air/fuel ratio, but with the camshaft phaser and the electronic throttle being operated so as to provide an air charge having sufficient mass so as to operate with a lean air/fuel ratio. This is essential to a fuel-driven operating system, rather than the air-driven systems found in the prior art.

The engine controller determines the transient electronic throttle position as a function of at least the time rate of change of the camshaft timing, and preferably, the instantaneous pressure within the engine's inlet manifold.

According to another aspect of the present invention, a method for controlling the camshaft timing, air/fuel ration, and electronic throttle position in an automotive internal combustion engine comprises the steps of determining camshaft timing advance value for a camshaft which operates cylinder intake and exhaust valves of the engine, determining a steady-state position for an electronic air throttle, determining a steady-state fuel supply rate, and determining transient values for electronic air throttle position, and fuel supply rate appropriate to migrate to a desired rich or lean air/fuel ratio while allowing engine torque output to closely approximate the torque output of the engine without camshaft timing control.

The camshaft timing advance and steady-state air/fuel ratio are preferably based upon a sensed operating position of a manually operable accelerator, as well as upon sensed engine speed.

The present method may further comprise the step of determining a rich air/fuel ratio suitable for purging a lean NOx trap based upon a quantity of fuel suitable for operating the engine at approximately a stoichiometric air/fuel ratio, but with a reduction in air sufficient to cause enrichment of the air and fuel mixture. And, the present method may further include the step of determining a lean air/fuel ratio for operating the engine with increased fuel economy, followed by operation of fuel injectors so as to provide a quantity of fuel suitable for operation at approximately a stoichiometric air/fuel ratio, but with said camshaft phaser and said electronic throttle being operated so as to provide a sufficient air charge so as to operate with a lean air/fuel ratio.

According to another aspect of the present invention, transient air/fuel ratio is determined so as to track and follow the filling and emptying of the intake manifold, with the result that fluctuations in output torque are minimized.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a schematic representation of an engine having a control system according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a plot of electronic throttle position as a function of accelerator position.

FIG. 3a is a plot of camshaft position as a function of engine speed and electronic throttle position.

FIG. 3b is a plot of air/fuel ratio as a function of engine speed and electronic throttle position.

FIG. 4 is a plot of air charge as a function of engine speed and electronic throttle position.

FIG. 5 is a plot of engine air flow as a function of the pressure ratio across the throttle.

FIG. 6 is a plot of engine air flow as a function of throttle engine.

FIGS. 7A and 7B are plots of engine airflow as a function of engine speed and camshaft position.

FIG. 8 is a plot of intake manifold reference pressure as a function of throttle angle and engine speed.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

In order to operate an engine according to the present invention, it is necessary to know throttle position, as governed by an ETC, camshaft operating position (also described as camshaft timing), and fuel injector pulse width. Of course, knowing fuel injector pulse width and the operating characteristics of the camshaft and electronic throttle, the air/fuel ratio can be set to the desired rich, lean, or stoichiometric point. In this manner the engine may be operated to achieve the best emissions and fuel economy with a torque response which is the same as a conventional engine operating at the stoichiometric air/fuel ratio and fixed camshaft timing.

FIG. 1 illustrates an engine having a system according to the present invention. Engine 10 is provided with fuel by means of fuel injectors 12 which are operated by engine controller 14. Engine controller 14 is of the conventional variety known to those skilled in the art and as suggested by this disclosure. Controller 14 also operates camshaft phaser 16 which controls the timing advance of a camshaft which operates the cylinder valves of engine 10.

Controller 14 receives an engine speed signal from speed sensor 18 as well as a variety of other engine operating parameters from sensor 20, which include such sensors as an intake manifold pressure sensor and other sensors known to those skilled in the art and suggested by this disclosure. A system according to the present invention further utilizes electronic throttle positioner 22 which in effect provides a drive-by-wire because the intake air throttle (not shown) is set at a position commanded solely by controller 14; throttle position sensor 24 merely senses or measures the position of a manually operable accelerator and produces an accelerator position signal. In other words, the vehicle operator has no direct link with the air throttle admitting air to the engine's intake manifold.

FIG. 2 illustrates a plot of accelerator position AP versus electronic throttle command θc. This is a calibratable function which will give progressivity to the vehicle driver's accelerator command according to the dictates of an engineer doing development work on a vehicle having an engine and system according to the present invention. In other words, the greater the slope of the plot, the more aggressively electronic throttle positioner 22 will open the air throttle and in response the driver's input. Simply state, θc is a measure of the torque response demanded by the driver because the more aggressively the driver depresses the accelerator pedal, the greater the driver's expectation of engine response.

Having received a value θc from the plot of FIG. 2, which can be merely a lookup table within controller 14, the engine controller moves to FIGS. 3a and 3 b, which is a three-dimensional plot, again in the form of a lookup table having as independent variables θc from FIG. 2, and engine speed, N. The plots of FIGS. 3a and 3 b, which are determined from engine mapping data, give camshaft position Γref as well as air/fuel ration, αref. The camshaft timing and air/fuel ratio selected from three-dimensional lookup tables by controller 14 at this step provide the camshaft timing and air/fuel required to achieve optimal emissions and fuel economy at the driver's demanded torque. This is the torque generated at the given accelerator pedal position and engine speed by an engine operating with fixed camshaft timing and a stoichiometric air/fuel ratio.

It is noted here that the camshaft position and air/fuel ratio vary to provide the best emission control capability. These are optimal steady state values dependent on engine speed and torque.

Knowing the steady-state camshaft position and air/fuel ratio, it is still necessary to determine the required throttle position and fuel injector pulse width.

To calculate the fuel charge required at stoichiometry, one need merely take the cylinder air charge and divide by 14.64, which is the chemically correct air/fuel ratio for a typical gasoline motor fuel. Thus, having determined the desired fuel charge, it is necessary to calculate the throttle angle required to achieve the lean air/fuel ratio αref given the fuel flow previously calculated. As explained above, lean operation is desired for reasons of fuel economy and emission control. Also, we must determine an additional dynamic correction of throttle position to avoid torque disturbances due to moving camshaft timing per the schedule calculated for Γref. The required cylinder airflow is calculated as:

φcyl o=(desired fuel charge)(αref).

The values of φcyl o and N are sued to determine from engine mapping data throttle angle θo to provide the desired air flow for lean operation. For the purpose of purging an LNT, the engine must operate with a rich air/fuel ratio, αrich. In the same manner θo was determined, a new air flow for rich operation can be determined, along with a required ETC setting for rich operating, θr. Thus, the required cam position, Γref and throttle positions θo and θr are stored as functions θc and N in lookup tables in the memory of controller 14. These lookup tables are used in real time to assure low emissions, good fuel economy, and the driveablility of a conventional engine.

To assure that the engine's torque response is close to that of a conventional engine, the steady state schedules described above are not used directly for controlling cam timing, throttle position, and air/fuel ratio. Instead, controller 14 adds a dynamic correction to ETC position and air/fuel ratio command to avoid engine output torque disturbances. The sequence of action of controller 14 may be summarized as follows.

1. The reference camshaft timing position, Γref obtained from the lookup table illustrated in FIG. 3a is used directly by camshaft phaser 16 to control cam timing. In other words, the camshaft timing command is not filtered. This is true because the response time of camshaft phaser 16 generally slower than the response times of the ETC or fuel injectors.

2. An additional throttle angle, θ*, needed to compensate for torque disturbance caused by camshaft movement, is computed and added to θo, the lean operation throttle setting, obtained from the lookup table illustrated in FIG. 4. The sum of θo and θ* is then used to command the ETC to a desired position.

3. Steady-state air/fuel ratio command, αref, is modified to account for the dynamics the intake manifold. The modified value of αref is then sued to determine the amount of fuel to be delivered by fuel injectors 12.

4. For urging of an LNT, steps 2 and 3 above are repeated for θr. Steps 1 and 4 are straightforward to implement; steps 2 and 3 will be explained below.

Controller 14 must calculate an additional throttle angle that when added to the angle calculated above compensates for the torque disturbance caused by moving camshaft to the desired position Γref. This is a dynamic correction which will only be applied while the camshaft phaser 16 is moving the camshaft to a new position. To make this correction, controller 14 needs to know the mass airflow through the throttle body and into the intake manifold. This is a well known function of pressure ratio across the throttle valve and upstream temperature and pressure. Graphically, this may be represented as two or more functions g1, g2. FIGS. 5 and 6 illustrate these functions. FIG. 5 is a plot of engine airflow at standard temperature and pressure as a function of pressure ratio across the throttle, Pm/Pa.

FIG. 6 is a plot of engine airflow at standard temperature and pressure as a function of throttle angle. The flow across the throttle, φθ, equals g1g2. The flow rate of air from the intake manifold into the engine's cylinders can be represented by an additional function comprising two parameters which are functions of engine speed and camshaft timing position, plus intake manifold pressure Pm, which is a measured quantity.

FIGS. 7A and 7B illustrate parameters α1 and α2 which are functions of camshaft position and engine speed. The values of α1 and α2, which are readily available from engine mapping, are stored in lookup tables within controller 14. Flow into the cylinders is calculated as:

φcyl1 P m2.

Prior to making the final throttle correction, the reference manifold pressure, Pmref needs to be known. This is intake manifold pressure corresponding to a stoichiometric fixed cam engine operating at a given engine speed. This may be calculated from the perfect gas law or tabulated.

FIG. 8 illustrates intake manifold pressure Pmref as a function of engine speed N and θo. Controller 14 now determines a throttle correction by solving the following equation. Then, the transient throttle correction is θ=θo+θ*.

θ*=(g 2)−1{[(∂α1∂Γcam) P m+(∂α2/∂Γcam)][ cam /dt]/[k m g 1(P m1 ]+[g 1(P mref)/g 1(P m)]g 2o)}−θo

At this point, controller 14 has determined throttle position as θ=θo+θ* for the ETC.

For step 3 above, an additional calculation is required, that is, calculation of the fuel injector pulse width. Because fuel charge can be changed faster than air, a change in fuel charge will cause an undesirable air/fuel transient unless the fuel command is shaped until the air flow catches up. This is accomplished by filtering the air/fuel ratio command to account for the lag. The essential differential equation is given as shown below:

de/dt=K m [g 1(P mref)g 2o)−g 1(P mref −e)g 2c)−α1(N,O)e]

Here, α1 is evaluated without any camshaft advance. Then, the correction factor applied to the air flow command is thus Δφcyl1(N,θ)e and ΓAF which is the commanded air/fuel ratio compensated for manifold filling dynamics is given by the expression:

ΓAF=14.64[1+Δφcyl/(φcyl−Δφ cyl)]

In summary, controller 14 calculates Γref, which is camshaft position, ΓAF which is the air/fuel ratio accounting for manifold dynamics, and θ*, the throttle command accounting for camshaft phaser dynamics. During transient operation, the camshaft position, the ETC position, and the air/fuel ratio all change continuously.

While the invention has been shown and described in its preferred embodiments, it will be clear to those skilled in the arts to which it pertains that many changes and modifications may be made thereto without departing from the scope of the invention.

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Referenced by
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US6304812 *Apr 28, 2000Oct 16, 2001Ford Global Technologies, Inc.Calibration optimization method
US6494277Nov 9, 2000Dec 17, 2002Ford Motor CompanyHybrid electric vehicle system
US6513510 *Aug 8, 2001Feb 4, 2003Hyundai Motor CompanyMethod for controlling fuel supply of a vehicle on acceleration and a system thereof
US6688411 *Nov 9, 2001Feb 10, 2004Ford Global Technologies, LlcHybrid electric vehicle and a method for operating a hybrid electric vehicle
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US8201392 *Oct 20, 2008Jun 19, 2012GM Global Technology Operations LLCEmission reduction system for turbo charged engine
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US20040112653 *Dec 4, 2003Jun 17, 2004Ford Global Technologies, LlcA hybrid electric vehicle and a method for operating a hybrid electric vehicle
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Classifications
U.S. Classification123/492, 123/399, 123/322
International ClassificationF02D41/00, F01N3/08, F02D13/02, F01L1/34, F02D41/02
Cooperative ClassificationF02D2041/001, F02D41/0275, Y02T10/18, F01N3/0842, F02D13/0219, F01L1/34, F02D13/0249
European ClassificationF01N3/08B6D, F02D41/02C4D1, F01L1/34, F02D41/00D, F02D13/02A4P
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jun 29, 2004FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
Aug 25, 2008REMIMaintenance fee reminder mailed
Feb 13, 2009LAPSLapse for failure to pay maintenance fees
Apr 7, 2009FPExpired due to failure to pay maintenance fee
Effective date: 20090213